In December last year @robjones_tring and I had dinner one evening. During our general chit chat about the usual random toot – I seem to remember that my love life was a source of amusement that night (it still is actually, but that’s another story) – I voiced an opinion; Twitter was a right load of old tosh.
I mean why would anyone want to share the inner most goings on that occur in their brain with total strangers? Who would actually be interested? And why would anyone care about the irrelevant events in the life of strangers?
Truth be told I’d never really got my head around Twitter. I’d played with it a little but that was all. Therefore my opinion didn’t really have a leg to stand on. The response from the Jones boy was to “get involved” and then make a call. After all how could I criticize something that I didn’t understand or participate in?
So I did just that. I followed a few people he’d recommended, and watched from the sidelines for a little while. Then I plucked up my courage and got tweeting. There’s a lot of pressure on at this point. I mean you want to start off on the right foot don’t you? Tweeting felt like pulling a trigger on a gun. You hit enter and your words are now in the public domain. So I composed a pithy comment about something inane (heavens only know what it was…) and then pressed enter. Nothing happened. I checked. The world was still spinning on its axis. I double checked. Nobody had died. This was good. I liked this. It pleased me.
As time marched on, so my tweeting ante went up. I was coming across more and more people to follow, and my follower numbers were going up. Proper people. Ones that wanted to talk to me too. Awesome.
Twitter has become like an extended family to me. These days I know some of my twitter friends better than I do some of my *real* friends. I care about what’s going on with them, worry about them, celebrate good stuff with them, make them grin when they’re not having a good time and generally help them out where I can. And I know they’d do the same for me. Today I class some of my twitter friends as my real friends. Earlier this year I ran the London Marathon with @northernmum1 who I met via twitter, and am now making plans to go climb a few hills (Three peaks and Kilimanjaro) with people that I’ve met on twitter. Who knew that you could grow friendships with people that you’ve never met in 140 characters or less?
Whats prompted this outburst? I’ve been away this weekend. With twitter peeps. Twenty plus of us camped out in a field in Devon. Primary goal was to surf, however it ended up as a jam-packed weekend of booze, banter and general bawdiness. I got home knackered, but grinning. I’ve hung out with friends, made new ones and generally laughed till my sides hurt.
The Jones boy pointed something out to me when we were driving back. Had he told me in December that I would be spending a weekend with a group of people who I’d got to know virtually – some of whom I’d never met in real life – and that I’d be having an absolute ball with them, I’d have told him that he’d gone a bit barmy. Scratch that. A lot barmy.
I now realise that I was wrong about Twitter. I’ve met people that amaze me with their smarts, confidence and attitude towards life, and I’ve made some excellent friends along the way too. Sometimes just shutting up and getting involved can return some surprising results.
(Oh and I’ve also realised that the Jones boy was right, but that’s twice in the last month he’s been right and he’ll just get big headed if I tell him this…)